5 indicted for attempted bribe of Feeding Our Future juror in incident ‘out of a mob movie’

A note with the cash delivered to Juror 52 read: "You alone can end the case."

The $120,00 bribe after being taken into evidence by the FBI.

(PowerLine) — In a dramatic press conference this morning, United States Attorney Andrew Luger announced indictments for the bribery of Juror 52 in the first of the Feeding Our Future fraud trials held in federal court here. On the evening of June 2, as the case was set to conclude, a Somali woman dropped off a Hallmark gift package with $120,000 in cash at the home of Juror 52. When she returned home, she called the authorities and turned over the bag of cash.

In open court the following morning, as closing arguments were set to conclude, Assistant United States Attorney Joe Thompson announced the bribery, moved the court to take the defendants into custody, and asked the court to have defendants turn in their cellphones pending a search warrant. An investigation ensued. The facts set forth below are as alleged in the indictment announced today.

This morning Luger announced the indictment of three defendants in the Feeding Our Future case that was tried to conclusion: Abdiaziz Farah, Abdimajid Nur, and Said Farah. Also charged were Abdulkarim Farah (brother of the other Farahs charged) and Ladan Ali, the mystery woman who had been recruited by Nur from Seattle to deliver the cash. Luger displayed a video of Ali following Juror 52 home from court in a rental car on May 30.

Luger displayed a video of Ali following Juror 52 home from court in a rental car on May 30.

Said Farah was one of the two defendants acquitted at trial. All five of the defendants charged in the bribe case this morning are in custody or to be taken into custody. The three Farah brothers are to make their first appearance on the charges in St. Paul this afternoon.

When he announced the bribery in open court on the morning of June 3, prosecutor Thompson had described it as something “out of a mob movie.” Today Luger said it was “much more, a chilling attack on the justice system.”

Luger added that such charges had not previously been brought here. “It just does not happen in Minnesota — until now,” he said.

Luger described the investigation conducted to identify the perpetrators over the past three weeks. Investigators searched “mountains of digital evidence” obtained from searches, including Abdi Farah’s wiped phone via a factory reset. Luger said Farah had wiped his phone on the morning of June 3 when the bribery was disclosed. “The sophistication and intentionality of the plot cannot be overstated,” he said.

Surveillance images of Ladan Ali after she arrived in Minneapolis on May 30.

A note with the cash delivered to Juror 52 read: “You alone can end the case.” She was picked out by defendants because she was the youngest member of the jury and nonwhite. The note played on her sympathies and set forth the arguments she was to use with the jurors to arrive at an acquittal in the course of deliberations — the defendants were being picked on because of their race and status as immigrants. “We are immigrants: they don’t respect and care about us … ” etc.

As I wrote on June 3, the bribery is a development that illustrates the heart of the Feeding Our Future case. Defendants thought they could play their status to get away with financial murder.

Prosecutors included a copy of defendants’ “blueprint” for Juror 52 in the press packet this morning. Referring to his days prosecuting the five Mafia families as an Assistant United States Attorney in Brooklyn, Luger said, “I’ve been doing this for a long time. I will tell you this document is chilling.”

Juror 52 is the hero of this case. It could have been so much worse. Recalling his prosecution of a bribed juror in Brooklyn, Luger lamented, “Now this form of corruption has made its way to Minnesota.”

This article was originally published at PowerLine


Scott Johnson
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Scott W. Johnson is a Minneapolis attorney who writes for Power Line and serves on the board of Alpha News.